Thor: The Dark World is the second standalone Thor movie, and a continuance in the Marvel Universe of movies. Unlike Iron Man in Iron Man 3 (which was terrible) Thor does not suffer from the inability to stand on his own. A post-Avengers Iron Man movie has everyone wondering why Iron Man doesn’t call SHIELD or the Avengers; with Thor, due to his other-worldly escapades, it’s not a concern.
Other-worldly escapades are first and foremost in this film, though a lot of it also takes place not far from here in Greenwich, UK. It’s not a great film but it’s not a bad one either; the acting is mostly good and there are some really humourous moments. We find out what happened to Loki (Tom Hiddleston) after his return to Asgard by Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and we learn about the race inhabiting the Dark World, whose primary characters look like they were stolen straight from Super Mario 3 for the Super Nintendo.
Dark Soldiers and Shy-Guy – separated at birth? You decide!
Christopher Eccleston (of Dr. Who fame) plays the leader of these baddies, and is after something called the “Aether”, which to no one’s great surprise is buried on earth and in another not-at-all-surprising coincidence just happens to be found by Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Dr. Foster has apparently been pining for Thor after he promised to come back and only has to slap him to get over the fact that he’s not returned for two years. (Apparently after her excursion to Tromsø Norway in the Avengers, she’s also moved to England with her assistant (Kat Dennings), another very convenient point for the plot.)
The plot is fairly action packed, and Thor’s parents (Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Rene Russo as Thor’s mum) make their respective returns, as does the rest of Thor’s crew. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a great character and does some scene stealing, but Stellan Skarsgård’s Dr. Eric Selvig takes that honour hands down. He provides a lot of the comic relief in the film.
After the almost two hours, you’ve realised that two hours has gone by, but it’s not been a total waste. It’s an enjoyable way to spend two hours, but doesn’t have the gravitas of Iron Man or the fun of The Avengers. It builds on/into the Marvel continuum, and the after-credits scenes set up the Guardians of the Galaxy movie (including a surprising choice for the Collector, who gives more information on the “Infinity Stones”, or “Infinity Gems” as they’re known in the comics) as well as provide some more humour around Dr. Foster. Overall I’d give this three out of five stars, and if you have nothing better to do on a weekend afternoon, it’s a good way to kill a couple of hours.